Cycling Into a Pain Cycle Is No Way to Ride
June 21, 2018
When I was a kid, I loved to ride my bike. Something about the speed and the wind in my face just made me happy. When I was 17, I got my first real racing bike, and the summer before college, I got the bug for racing. The team in my hometown was all men in their late 20’s and 30’s, as well as some (at the time) older guys. Now that I’m one of those ‘older’ athletes, I want to share some wisdom with you.
I remember training with my coach, who turned me from a short-distance sprinter into a long-distance cyclist. “You’ve got some power in those legs. You just aren’t training right.” I remember those words still, three decades later. I trained hard and daily for seven years. I won races and even paid my college tuition with some of the winnings I’d amassed over the first few years of racing.
By the time I got to my mid 20’s, though, my neck and low back ached all the time. There was a chiropractor at the gym I trained at and he said I’d developed a reverse C curve in my neck from all of the years of distance riding. Who knew jutting my chin out in that hunched-over position could literally deform my neck? Had I known then what I know now, I’d certainly have MELTed my body to reduce the negative effects of cycling.
So I’d like to offer two videos on MELT for Cycling that you can perform either before or after you ride.
MELT for Cycling Plan
This month, we released a MELT for Cycling Hip Stability Map on MELT On Demand designed to stabilize the hips and rehydrate the lower body. Hip flexion alone is enough to make any cyclist develop lower body imbalances. In this video, I cover some key moves you can do that will take you about 25 minutes to perform. Doing this treatment after a long ride will relieve some of the joint wear and tear, restore the extensibility of your backside, and give your low back some relief.
In next month’s MELT for Cycling video, you’ll learn how to add a quick hand treatment, upper body sequence, and a neck release sequence to your post-ride recovery. Most cyclists have day jobs too – they aren’t just riding and training – and the worst possible thing to do after a long ride is sit at a desk for six hours a day. The perpetual use of our hands on a computer and the repetitive posture of sitting – forward head carriage, rounded back, and flexed hips – can be harder on a cyclist’s body than a 60-mile ride.
After being a victim of a few rainy-day racing accidents, I could feel my body tense up from head to toe when I’d ride in poor weather. I would constantly have to remind myself to drop my shoulders and take whole-body breaths. My knuckles would turn white from gripping the handlebars. Also, the poorly paved streets that New York and New Jersey are known for made my hands feel like they were vibrating for hours after my rides. I wish I had this MELT Upper Body Map. To be honest, I think this is the unsung MELT Hero Treatment any cyclist should know how to do.
If it’s not hip and knee ache I hear about from my cycling clients, it’s that their arms fall asleep overnight and that’s what wakes them up. Is this sounding familiar?
Now I know it’s hard to add self-care to your already jam-packed life of fitness and work, but I always ask my clients, “What’s 10 to 20 minutes of daily self-care compared to the cost of constant aches and pains stopping you from living tomorrow fully?”
To be honest, I could easily construct an 8-week series for cyclists with eight different MELT Maps. Some would be better on training days to reduce the negative effects of a ride, and some would be best done on recovery and rest days to prepare your body for the ride you’ll take tomorrow.
The fact is, you’ve got one body and many, many miles of road ahead of you. Don’t make life an uphill battle. That glorious feeling of cruising through a long ride and getting off your bike exhilarated is something many people never experience. I’d like to help you feel like the strong, powerful athlete you have living inside of you. Let’s bring that badass out together. Try the Lower Body MELT Map for Cyclists and give me some feedback. If enough of you watch it, I’ll give you the Upper Body MELT Map for Cyclists next month.
Let’s see if you reduce your overall time, improve your performance, and get your joints feeling great, no matter how far you ride. I’ll be awaiting your feedback. On your mark…
Want to watch the MELT for Cycling videos but don’t have MELT On Demand yet? Click here to get a 7-day free trial!